Teletext Holidays accused of ignoring refund rules
Holidaymakers trying to secure a refund for trips cancelled due to coronavirus have had requests ignored and bank card chargebacks disputed.
Thousands of Teletext Holidays customers have taken to social media to complain about the way they have been treated by the online travel agent.
Many have spent several months trying to get their money back after their holidays were cancelled due to the pandemic.
Under ATOL rules, holiday firms are supposed to provide customers with full cash refunds within 14 days of a cancelled trip.
But Teletext Holidays has tried to fob off customers with refund credit notes or delayed refunds by saying it is still waiting for cash back from airlines.
Cash-strapped students waiting for refunds
Matthew Taylor, a 19-year-old student, and his girlfriend paid £1,377 for a week in Corfu in July. Ryanair cancelled the flights for the trip and notified the couple.
Matthew said: “I had a holiday booked with Teletext for the start of July, which I wasn’t notified was cancelled until the day after I was due to be back. I have sent three emails, contacted them via their website, spoke to them on Twitter and called them spending over two hours on hold. Only to be not replied to, or told a date for a refund, and now the date has passed with no further communication yet still no refund.”
At one point Matthew was told he’d receive “more information” about his refund on 5 August. But on 5 August he just received an email from Teletext saying that the company would no longer be responding to emails sent to its customer care email address.
Nele Klinkosch is also a student and is owed nearly £800 from Teletext Holidays for a trip to Spain cancelled in March.
The flights for the trip were with Jet 2 which told Nele it refunded the money for the flights on 11 April. Teletext initially told Nele it was still waiting for this cash but later admitted it had been refunded by the airline.
She said “In addition due to the delay being undue and that they have ignored every single consumer law that is in place to protect me, I am expecting a reasonable compensation. They have now confirmed that I will receive my refund in 20 days but are refusing any form of compensation.”
Social media action
Many customers have taken to Teletext Holidays’ Facebook page to complain about a lack of refund, and communication, from the company.
A Facebook group called Teletext Holidays nightmare experience, complaints and awareness tells thousands of similar tales.
Some customers claim they are given dates they would get their money back – but then the money fails to arrive.
Others had initiated chargebacks on their debit cards only to find that Teletext Holidays was disputing the chargeback with the bank, adding further delays.
Numerous Tweets about Teletext Holidays tell similar stories of ignored refund requests after months of waiting, ignored emails, and phone calls being terminated.
Customers complaining about the firm on Twitter are routinely told to direct message the company with their booking details. Yet those that do this typically receive a generic message saying they will receive a phone call about their refund – this, inevitably, fails to materialise.
Only one in 100 customers has got a refund
Teletext Holidays was rated the third worst company out of 70 in a MoneySavingExpert.com survey last month which looked at the way holiday firms have treated customer refund during the coronavirus pandemic. It had a refund payout rate of 1% among those who’d had trips cancelled.
Teletext Holidays is still selling holidays. It states that its package deals are ATOL protected so “you can book with confidence knowing that you’ll be handled with care”.
But customers can only make a claim via ATOL if a company goes bust.
Steve Nowottny, news and investigations editor at MoneySavingExpert.com, said: “Unfortunately at the moment many travellers are struggling to get the refunds they’re entitled to, or are facing long delays. Where that’s the case, some have understandably turned to their card firm instead and submitted a chargeback request.
“Companies have always been able to challenge chargeback requests, and there may be a few cases where there are legitimate reasons for doing so – for instance, if the firm has in fact already paid out a refund. But as a general rule, if a holidaymaker has submitted a legitimate chargeback request because they’re owed money back, has tried to claim through the correct channels and simply hasn’t got anywhere, travel firms certainly shouldn’t be frustrating that process or delaying it unnecessarily.”
Teletext Holidays has failed to respond to several requests for comment.